So you've joined the game. Did you IM LifesaverM for a guild invite yet?
To whisper someone you type /t name msg
This game actually does a pretty good job or teaching you game functions through the quest system, especially through level 20, and really even to level 30. The level cap is currently 120, which was just upped from 100 Dec. 18th, 2008. This game has only been out of Beta since October, so its pretty new, and it won the MMORPG Game of the Year Award for 2008. Many areas are still being developed, because the storyline is not yet fully unfolded. You'll see there are Regions such as Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia (just opened), Southern Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (just opened).
Almost every town can be controlled by a Guild, the forever exception is Rome which will always be neutral. Right now New York (N. America) and Chang An (C. Asia), are also neutral as those areas were just opened and there is only 1 town in those regions. This however, is a lengthy subject so I'll discuss that in other posts.
For now, I'll provide you some tips, and general game knowledge to help you progress through your first few days.
Depending on which class you choose for your main hero (you), will depend on how you want to choose which mercenaries to choose. Initially you get 2, and by the end of the tutorial you are allowed your 3rd. Then you get another mercenary at Level 10, 20, 30, 40, and lastly 50 when you complete your party of 9 (8 mercs plus you). In the long run you always want melee units in your front row. Keep in mind you do not need 3 in your front row initially you could have 2 and build back as well. The placement is up to you. To change the placement or "Formation" of your party. Click on "My Info > Formation". If you have not choosen a melee main, MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT IN THE FRONT ROW, or you WILL die frequently. If you die a battle immediately ends. If you die in battle there is a lose of both money and xp. Mind you that even at my level already of 50, the lose isn't that significant, unless you are dying all the time.
When you hit Level 10 you can hire Shaman, and I HIGHLY suggest you do so for healing, unless of course you chose to be a shaman main. Initially you can choose Swordsman, Archers, Spearman, Gunners, or Artillerymen. Around level 18 and 20 respectively you can hire Vikings (axe), and Monks (protection specialty). Avoid Artillerymen until post level 20. Initially you want a nice mix of melee and ranged. It is important to know that melee units can NOT attack flying mobs via their standard attack only via their magic spell. So it is critically important you have a nice mix of melee and ranged units.
HELPING OTHERS / STAMINA
This whole game is built around more experienced players, helping newer players. To the extent that as mentioned in my STARTING post, there is a mentorship system. In addition exchanging Mob Info, teach others Skills, and after level 30 sending random gifts to players under level 30, earn you benefits. Such as XP, or more importantly Stamina. Stamina in this game (which you start with 100 each day and 20 can carry over till level 50 when it cuts in half) is very important. When you have Stamina you get good XP and drops from mobs, when you have no Stamina you can still do battles but not every monster in a mob will drop something, and the xp earned is reduced. Doing little things like the sharing mob info, giving gifts, etc. will earn you each up to an extra 5 stamina per day. You also earn Stamina by simply being logged into the game. 1 per 10mins.
Being in a party will earn you extra XP, plus bonus party XP. You will find many people doing LDP (long distance parties) to get this benefit. This is the way the game was designed. Now if you are doing a real party, and actually in battle versus a mob with a party member the benefits increase even more. But overall, you want to be in a LDP as much as possible when you are killing for quests.
In addition you will find you have a WILL meter. This initially will not mean much to you, but you'll learn very quickly to manage your will carefully. You need Will to do most everything, from sharing mob info, sending mail items (until lvl 20), teaching skills, and teleporting. As you continue to level up, the amount of will an action requires will be reduced (1 will % reduction per level). So by level 50 it costs only 52% will to do everything, almost to the magical 50% milestone. It even costs will to eat food (but not to drink potions), as well, so you will learn your will is a very precious commodity.
Teaching others skills earns you XP for that perticular skill. See my posts in the crafting sub-forum for more on this. Initially you will see some Artisans will not teach level 1 (the starting point), as they get little benefit for the cost of will. Many advanced teachers have students in queue waiting for skill ups, so it is not worth their time to teach level 1. Again see my crafting posts for more on this subject.
Earlier I mentioned about mob info/data. It is very good to collect mob data, as especially in late game there are benefits to having a high percentage of mob data. As you collect more and more data you will see your total mob info percentage bar increase. Mob info comes in 3 stages. Basic, Location, and Item. Basic info will tell you the level of the mob, if they use magic (and if so what spells), their attack power, etc. Location info, well as you can guess tells you where you can find the mob. Lastly, Item Info tells you what items the mob drops, and at what rate it drops them. Having full Stage 3 data on a mob, will earn you extra and better drops from that mob. Even if the mob is below your level collecting this data, as I mentioned has benefits in later game. So you always want to exchange info with others.
Word to the wise, you will level up to level 30 pretty darn fast, so DON'T waste your money buying good "Spirit Gear" (level 1 gear). Wait until you hit Level 15 then get the Sea King armour's and gear. All gear/equipment in game is either made by another player or dropped. No gear can be simply bought from the store, however you will always find an abundance of equipment for sale in the market of every town (the market is linked across all towns). After that I found the level 25 gear to be ugly (unless you love yellow and green together), so I waited until level 35 to upgrade my gear again after the level 15 gear. I'm glad I did since it didn't take that long to get to level 35, and the gear at that level looked much nicer. You can "enchant" weapons and armour to get a + bonus up to +10 on a piece of equipment. This is explained well in the game but briefly. To get a +2 item you first need TWO +1 items, and 2 enchant stones. That's how it works in this game. There is no fear of gear breaking when you enchant via the standard method, however there are advanced methods which I'll not cover in this basic tutorial, as its much more involved. So lay it out if you want a +2 item you need FOUR pieces of that item, you enchant two to create a +1 item, and do it again, so you have TWO +1 items. Then you enchant them to create the +2 item. The amount of enchant stones you need is depending on the OUTPUT level. So to create a +1 item you need 1 stone, to combine two +1 items together to form a +2 item you need 2 stones.
---More to come.